With 1,500 acres of corn and soybeans under a no-till and conventional-tillage program, Larry Flom, by many measures, is a typical Minnesota farmer. However, the fact that he farms all of it by himself, even during the busy planting and harvest seasons, puts Flom in an “above average” category that seems to be growing.
Flom wasn’t always alone in his endeavors, though. Up until about 13 years ago, he shared the family farm with his brother Steven. Steven was killed in a car accident in 2000, and shortly after that tragic event Larry trimmed the farm size by 500 acres and continued the work by himself.
Farms the size of Flom’s are disappearing at a rapid pace from the North American landscape. The number of midsize farms in the U.S. shrank by as much as 25% in some states from 1997 to 2007. The decrease in Canada was even larger, with mid-sized farms (those between 400 and 2,240 acres) dwindling by a whopping 38%.
The midsize farm frequently has the need but not the income to keep someone on the payroll.
“There have been times I could have used an extra person, and John Isaacson has helped on occasion,” says Flom about his friend and Massey Ferguson and AGCO dealer. “But most of the time, it’s just easier to do it myself than to find and train someone.”
“It’s not unusual for one person to farm 1,500 acres or for a father/son team to farm a few thousand acres,” says Kent Olson, professor of applied economics and Extension economist–farm management at Minnesota State University. “If they’re highly mechanized and have adopted labor-saving technology, such as Roundup Ready crops, it is possible in this day and age to handle that kind of acreage.”
For instance, Flom uses Roundup Ready corn and soybeans. Both are planted in 30-inch rows following preplant incorporation of a residual herbicide. Hence, the most that’s ever needed is a post application of Roundup.
Flom also credits the technology and capacity available in today’s farm equipment. His new Class 7 combine not only has the capacity to handle a 35-foot draper header, but it has a grain bin capacity of 330 bushels and an unloading time of only 83 seconds, so he can spend more time harvesting.
Other time-saving machines include a 16-row Model 8516 White planter, 54-foot Sunflower® Model 5055 field cultivator, and MF8670 tractor, which offers a 32-mph transport speed. “The farm stretches out over a 20-mile area,” Flom notes. “So the road speed certainly helps me get more done.”
By alleviating pressure on the bottom line, the fuel efficiency of today’s equipment is a huge help to farmers like Flom. As he says about his MF8670, “I just love the fuel economy. Most of the AGCO brand tractors have been pretty good, but between the CVT [transmission] and the e3 SCR system, this one’s even better, especially for the size. It just idles along when I’m planting, so I’ve been able to go for days without having to worry about fueling it up.”
Added together, the number and scope of these advancements from Massey Ferguson and other AGCO brands help Flom maintain the farm, all the while saving time and money. “Like a lot of farmers, I probably have more equipment than I actually need,” he confesses. “But when it’s just me doing everything, I want to be ready to go when I need to go.”
How do you improve efficiency on your farm?
Massey Ferguson, a worldwide brand of AGCO (NYSE: AGCO) is pleased to announce the full partnership of the European Council of Young Farmers at its Vision of the Future event in Beauvais, France, 19-29 August 2014.
The farm machinery manufacturer is already a key sponsor of CEJA, which represents around two million European young farmers, and is working closely with the group in support of a range of projects at international, regional and local level.
Joining CEJA President, Matteo Bartolini in speaking at Vision of the Future were CEJA Vice-Presidents, Paola del Castillo, Matthias Daun, Alan Jagoe, and Laurent Poirier who made presentations in their native languages to the variety of international audiences attending over the ten days of the event.
“Vision of the Future is a wonderful opportunity for CEJA to meet farmers and promote a greater understanding of our work in Europe,” said Matteo Bartolini. “We are dedicated to the future of farming and the role of young people in its development. This event is a melting pot of new and innovative ideas, something which we relish as an organisation.”
Commenting, Campbell Scott, Massey Ferguson Director Sales Engineering and Brand Development said: “We are delighted that CEJA is partnering us at our showcase event. The young generation is the engine of innovation and fully comprehends the value of change. This is the inspiration behind MF’s partnership with CEJA – a relationship we hope to consolidate further into the future.”
In his keynote speech on the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), Matteo Bartolini said: “The reformed CAP 2014-2020 promises to be ‘fairer’, ‘greener’ and ‘younger’, and, for the first time in the history of the CAP, we had the introduction of a mandatory measure for all Member States targeted only at young farmers under the direct payments Pillar,” he remarked.
“But our job is not done! We need to continue to find ways to assist young people to progress in agriculture. Young farmer numbers are still very low despite their increased productivity in comparison to older counterparts. Only 7.5% of European farmers are under the age of 35, and one third are over 65! We need to help young farmers to overcome the barriers of access to land, capital and credit and give wings to the ambitions of our young European entrepreneurs.”
“Generational renewal has to be at the heart of public policies, as this is the only way to ensure sustainable food production and respond to increasing food demand in the future,” said Matteo. “With its work, CEJA makes sure that the voice of young farmers is heard by all Brussels-based policy-makers and that young farmers are at the centre of discussions on future farming policy developments.”
CEJA co-ordinates seminars, conferences, public debates and written reports, and directs the concerns of young farmers towards the European institutions.
A regular column from CEJA is published every month on the Massey Ferguson web site: www.masseyferguson.com
The MF 5610 tractor set to journey to the South Pole in five weeks’ time has successfully completed stringent tests in Iceland.
Known as Antarctica2, the adventurous mission to drive a tractor to the Geographical South Pole is the dream of Manon Ossevoort, aka ‘Tractor Girl’, who will pilot the specially-prepared MF 5610 on the 2350km expedition across treacherous snow and ice. In doing so, she and her expert back-up team will echo the achievement of Sir Edmund Hillary who trekked to the South Pole using three Ferguson tractors in 1958.
The Antarctica2 expedition is being organised to highlight the need for sustainable food security through the provision of accessible technologies and innovative services to allow future farmers to meet the world’s growing requirement for food.
Modified by the engineering team at AGCO’s Beauvais tractor plant, the MF 5610 completed its final testing over a two-week period in Iceland. “The tractor performed extremely well in our trials,” says Massey Ferguson Engineering Project Manager, Olivier Hembert. “It will have to endure temperatures down to minus 40 degrees centigrade, altitude of 3400 metres and tackle deep, soft snow. This kind of environment calls for straightforward, dependable engineering for which Massey Ferguson is renowned. Previous tests in Iceland and France were made to check its performance in polar ground conditions and at very low temperatures.”
Throughout the journey, the tractor’s AgCommandTM telematics system will relay performance information back to a 24-hour support team in Beauvais. “The clock is now ticking for this long-planned project to become reality,” adds Olivier. “We are very excited about monitoring our tractor’s progress across the challenging icescape and ensuring its technical and mechanical stamina to accomplish the mission.”
Livestreaming and regular updates via a dedicated website will keep the rest of the world in touch with the adventure’s progress. The tractor and team depart Novo Base in East Antarctica around 24 November and are scheduled to arrive at the South Pole around 15 December.
Support for Antarctica2 is being provided by partners including Massey Ferguson, Trelleborg, AGCO Finance, Castrol, AGCO Parts, Fuse Technologies and Mechatrac.
Massey Ferguson, a worldwide brand of AGCO (NYSE:AGCO), is proud to announce AGCO’s Fuse Technologies fitted to high horsepower tractors from Massey Ferguson are now in use across all five continents with the delivery of a new MF 8737 to Australia.
The 370hp (400hp max) flagship tractor from the MF 8700 range has been fitted with AGCO’s Auto-Guide™ 3000 steering system and AgCommand™ telemetry system. It will be used for tillage and controlled traffic farming applications at a large farming enterprise near Melbourne.
Powered by a six cylinder, 8.4 litre AgcoPower engine, the MF 8737 features the Dyna VT stepless transmission with Dynamic Tractor Management, and is ideal for the most demanding farming tasks.
Massey Ferguson has dedicated sales and service specialists for Fuse Technologies in Australia, and this tractor joins other high tech units working as far afield as Japan and South America.
“Massey Ferguson is one of the world’s best known farm machinery brands and we have been helping farmers across the globe become more efficient and more productive for years” commented Campbell Scott, Director Sales Engineering and Brand Development. “Auto-Guide™ 3000, available to MF users via AGCO’s Fuse Technologies, is helping farmers now all around the world to cut costs and farm in a more efficient way.”
Fuse Technologies helps minimise downtime while improving the overall farm enterprise through wireless connectivity and diagnostic services.
Auto-Guide™ 3000 is a full featured, hands free steering system capable of delivering sub-metre, decimetre, and centimetre accuracy. Guidance systems are proven to offer an average of 12% in fuel savings, as well as savings in inputs and labour.
The AgCommand™ telemetry system is a leading edge data recording and transmission tool that optimises fleet performance by monitoring and reporting vehicle position, history and status, and is viewable on a desktop computer, laptop or tablet.
Massey Ferguson’s Fuse Technologies specialist Aymeric Vaudez explains: “On large farming enterprises, AgCommand™ telemetry allows managers to track tractors working remotely, and monitor service information to ensure that such important power units can perform to the optimum.”
“Businesses can also use AgCommand™ to assess the productivity of farming operations and identify any drop in efficiency so that performance can be improved.” adds Guillaume Dutartre, Marketing Specialist for Massey Ferguson Technology.
From the Auckland Harbour Bridge to the northern-most tip of the New Zealand, AGCO dealer Bryant Tractors has proudly served the Northland Farming industry for 35 years.
From humble beginnings employing just four people, the locally owned Whangarei business owned and operated by Murray Bale and Keith Martin is the largest independent agricultural dealership in New Zealand’s Northland region.
Celebrating their success and thanking their loyal and large customer base, the Bryant Tractor team invited over 320 guests to a function at Whangarei’s Toll stadium.
Guests enjoyed a buffet dinner, live entertainment and listened to the inspirational story of New Zealand Paralympic champion swimmer, Cameron Leslie.
The spacious facilities of the Northlands Rugby Union home ground also allowed Bryant tractors to display a large range of the latest AGCO products which guest were able mill around while catching up over a social drink or two.
Congratulating the Bryant Tractors team for their long history of service, Guest Speaker AGCO NZ Manager Peter Scott outlined AGCO’s Vision of the Future and an overview of the NZ tractor market.
Commenting after the event, Peter said “Bryant Tractors has been a fixture in the local agricultural industry for a generation, consistently providing the Northland region with professional service and support and offering a range of AGCO products that meet the demands of modern farming practices in New Zealand.”
Attending the event customers Ian and Coleen Taylor took the opportunity to pass on their best wishes to Murray and Bryant tractors staff.
“We thoroughly enjoyed seeing all the machinery Bryant Tractors had on display, it is amazing what a change there has been even in our lifetime! We were very interested to hear the story of AGCO, its impressive results, with such rapid growth throughout the world. We look forward to seeing what is coming off the production line next,” Ian and Coleen Taylor said.
Murray and Keith thanked their customers and made special mention of past and current staff who have contributed to the success of Bryant Tractors including co-founder Bill Bryant.
AGCO congratulates Bryant Tractors for 35 years of dedicated professional service and looks forward continuing a successful partnership in the vibrant New Zealand agricultural industry.